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Saturday, October 4, 2014

How Crazy Do You Have To Be?

   The other day I read a great blog that discusses how crazy you have to be to become a writer. I agree heartily with several points.

   First, writers don't make much money, if any. Such dreams are sheer fantasy for all but a tiny handful of writers. Most writers are complete unknowns. So much for fame and fortune!

  And for all the non-rewards we receive we are forced to suffer the slings and arrows of disgruntled readers, unappreciative editors, and unimpressed reviewers. All writers ( without exception ) will experience some form of rejection: from publishers, from indifferent readers, and from the constant struggle to promote our books.

   Why would any sane person subject himself / herself to this abuse?

The answer seems to be that writers write because we must! We have no choice in the matter. It's either write or be driven insane by the voices in our heads. In fact, our characters are sometimes referred to as "the little people in our heads."

   Well, my people aren't little, and I don't think they are confined solely to my head. But I understand completely what other writers mean by this. My characters seem to perpetually lurk over my shoulder, frequently telling me in no uncertain terms what they want to say and do next. From time to time I err and seem to hear them saying, "No, no, no! That's not me! I would never say or do that!"

   Writers of fiction, especially, must live in a reality that isn't real. We must create worlds that have never been, invent characters who have never lived, yet feel "real." We must envision scenarios that most likely will never happen. Are we truly crazy?

   Maybe so, but on the upside, writing can be fun; it's challenging and rewarding in ways other than monetary. I regard writing as my calling, one that cannot be ignored, an inner flame that cannot be quenched. But unless you are absolutely driven to write and to write your best possible work, you should stay safely sane and stick to the next best occupation: reading!

Keep reading, and for some of you, keep on writing.